Saudi Vows No Tolerance for Hajj Disturbances

MANAMA – Welcoming millions of visitors from across the world, Saudi Arabia has reiterated its strict zero-tolerance policy towards any attempt to disrupt security, undermine safety or upset pilgrims’ well-being during Hajj.

“Hajj has its own sanctity in time and place, and the aim of all efforts exerted by Saudi Arabia is to ensure the safety of the pilgrims and to provide them with the most adequate ways to perform haj,” Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Mohammad Bin Nayef said, reported on Tuesday, September 6.

“Therefore, there is an absolute zero-tolerance policy towards anyone who targets the genuine purposes of Hajj or the safety of the pilgrims. All decisions by the judiciary against anyone found guilty of targeting Hajj will be strictly applied.”

Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.

Hajj consists of several ceremonies, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.

Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.

Kicking off next Saturday, this year’s pilgrimage is expected to be attended by nearly three million pilgrims from around the world.

The Crown Prince’s comments came on Tuesday after inspecting hajj security forces in Mina, on the outskirts of Makkah, where around three million Muslims are expected to congregate on Saturday to start the six-day Hajj season.

In his statement, he stressed, “Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (the king), welcomes all pilgrims and dedicates all its potential and facilities to serve them and help them perform Haj, the fifth pillar of Islam, easily and safely.

“The kingdom this year will continue this long-standing tradition and will put all its facilities and potential to provide the safest and most secure environment for pilgrims. Saudi Arabia is of course considering all possibilities to ensure the highest levels of security and precautionary plans and measures. Thanks to the effective implementation of the plans, outstanding successes have been achieved and pilgrims perform their hajj smoothly and securely.”

Prince Mohammad told the media Saudi Arabia was looking forward to having all pilgrims fully committed to the spirit of hajj and compliant with the rules in place to ensure smooth rituals.

“We do hope that all pilgrims will rise to the sanctity of the occasion and do not become involved in anything that implicates them in religious and legal violations and their consequences,” he said.

“We want all pilgrims to enjoy the services and facilities provided by Saudi Arabia to help them perform their hajj within a secure and comfortable environment.”